Car Doctor Q&A: My Honda and Acura Radios Won’t Work

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Car radio theft used to be a big deal. We’re not sure who last stole a Honda radio, though. Nevertheless, Honda and Acura protect their radios with security systems, and they require codes to unlock if you’ve lost power to the battery.

Q. Hi I have two Honda vehicles and in both of them the radios don’t work.

My 2001 Acura that I gave my daughter has a “code” displayed on the radio. On my car, a Honda Pilot has a blank display on the radio.

In both of these vehicles this happened after I replaced the battery. I have the code for the Acura, but it won’t work. I don’t have the code for the Pilot. Can you help me out?

A. Entering the code should be pretty straightforward. With the Err6 showing on the screen, you simply enter the five-digit code with the memory buttons.

When you enter the fifth digit, the radio should come on automatically. If you have the code on a card, just make sure you’re reading the correct number. The process is detailed in this video:

For the Pilot, you’ll first need to get the code.

It’s going to require a pen and paper, and a call to Honda, a visit to your dealer, or a visit to

With the key in the ACC position, make sure the power to the radio is turned off by pushing the power button.

Then, hold the 1 and 6 memory buttons down, and then push the power button. Two codes — the first beginning with a U, and the second beginning with an L — should flash several times. Write those codes down. Also, write your VIN down, or bring your registration to the computer, or have it handy by the phone.

The procedure for getting the U and L codes is shown in the video below:

I am concerned, though, that the Pilot radio isn’t displaying anything. Once you get the code, try fully disconnecting the positive and negative cables to the battery. Then, touch the positive and negative cables together for about a minute.

This will completely clear out the vehicle memory.

Hook up the battery and then input the code. In the future if you have to replace a car battery, use a jumpstart pack and some small jumper wires. Connect the jumper wires to the battery terminals and the jumpstart pack; then when you disconnect the battery the memory circuits will stay energized and you won’t need to worry about radio codes.

John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England. A certified mechanic, Paul tests dozens of new cars each year and also hosts a radio show on AM 950 and 550.